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Limited Parking at Juvenile Justice Center

The County of Kern is installing solar panels in the parking lot of Public Health. This will impact parking at the Juvenile Justice Center. The project is expected to last through May 1, 2024.

Probate

Probate Court

Probate Court has original jurisdiction over actions concerning the issuance of marriage licenses, the estate of a deceased person, the will of an individual, the estate of a minor or incapacitated person, trusts, and involuntary commitments. Most probate matters are handled without a jury trial, but Probate Court does have the authority to conduct a jury trial.

Probate Notes

Remote Appearances

In an effort to promote safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, parties who have hearings in J1-Probate (Probate Division) are encouraged to email exhibits to the Court no later than five calendar days prior to the hearing date. The email address is ProbateExhibits@kern.courts.ca.gov.

This is for Probate matters only. If you are appearing remotely please go to Remote Court Hearings and under the section Juvenile Justice Center, select J1-Probate. Please arrive to the remote hearing 30 minutes early.

Attending Probate Hearings During COVID-19

Legal Assistants are employed by the court to review all papers filed with the probate court.  They check filings for compliance with the probate code, local court rules, and the policies of the court. As a result of this review, the Legal Assistants may identify procedural deficiencies or other concerns that need to be further addressed before the court hears the matter. This reduces the judicial time required to hear probate cases.

For further information visit:

  1. California Courts/Judicial Council - Probate Court
  2. Handbook for Conservators and Acknowledgment of Receipt
  3. Fee Schedule

Case Research

To find out if an action has been filed, you may:

  1. Use the online Case Search
    • Using the “Smart Search” locate the case number for which information is needed (see Search Tips to do this).
  2. Visit the Probate office
    • 2100 College Ave. Bakersfield, CA 93305
  3. Request the information via mail:
    Superior Court of California County of Kern
    Probate Court
    2100 College Ave
    Bakersfield, CA 93305
  4. Search request fee, see Fee Schedule
  5. For additional information, see Court Records

Fee Waiver

If you cannot afford to pay court fees, you may apply for a fee waiver. You will be asked to provide information regarding your financial status which will be reviewed by a judge.

Fee Waiver form packets are available at no cost in the Probate Department or download the form here

Probate Investigations

Relative Guardianship Investigations

The Probate court appoints Family Court Services to conduct investigations of proposed guardians, who are relatives of children whose parents are otherwise unable to meet the best interest of the children pursuant to Probate Code § 1513(a).

Beginning January 2, 2020, Family Court Services has been conducting background checks in relative guardianship cases for all petitioners and other adults residing in the home. A guardianship questionnaire must be completed and submitted to Family Court Services. When submitting the questionnaires, petitioners can email them directly.

Conservatorship Investigations

The Probate court appoints a Court Investigator to conduct an investigation for limited and general conservatorship proceedings of the person and the estate.

What is conservatorship?

A conservatorship is a court proceeding in which a judge appoints a family member, friend or other responsible person (conservator) to take care of a dependent adult (conservatee) who cannot care of himself/herself and/or their finances.
There are two types of conservatorships, person and estate. Conservatorship of the Person:
In these situations, the conservator is responsible for ensuring the conservatee has proper food, clothing, shelter, and health care. Depending on the conservatee’s ability to understand and make decision, the conservator may need to make important medical choices for him or her. Conservatorship of the Estate:
The conservator handles the conservatee’s financial matters. These responsibilities include the conservatee’s finances, protecting income and property, paying bills, making investments, preparing and filing taxes on behalf of the conservatee. The conservator is also required to make regular reports of financial account to the courts and other interested parties.

General Conservatorship v. Limited Conservatorship

General Conservatorships:
Are for elderly people, but can also be for younger people who have been seriously impaired, for example a traumatic brain injury as result of a motor vehicle accident. Limited Conservatorships: Are for adults with developmental disabilities who cannot fully provide basic needs of food shelter and clothing or their finances. Conservatees in Limited Conservatorships do not need the higher level of care that conservatees in General Conservatorships need. The responsibility of the limited conservator is to help the limited conservatee develop maximum self-reliance and independence.

What is a temporary conservatorship?

A temporary conservatorship may be set up when a person needs immediate help. A judge may appoint a temporary conservator to take care of the conservatee’s immediate needs until a permanent conservator can be appointed. A temporary conservator may be a conservator of the person, conservator of the estate, or both. He or she arranges for temporary care, protection, and support of the conservatee and protects the conservatee’s finances and property from loss or damage until a permanent conservator can be appointed. The authority of the temporary conservator is much more limited than a permanent conservator.

What is a Lanternman-Petris-Short (LPS) Conservatorship?

Lanternman-Petris-Short (LPS) conservatorships are based on the Lanternman-Petris-Short Act of 1969 law named after its sponsors. The LPS conservatorships are created to arrange for certain types of very restrictive living arrangements and extended mental health treatment for people who are unable to provide for their own needs for food, clothing, or shelter as a result of a mental disorder or chronic alcoholism, and who cannot agree to the arrangement of treatment voluntarily. This process must be started by a local government agency, usually a county’s public guardian or public conservator. Therefore, Family Court Services does not cover these conservatorships.

Probate FAQs

Venue for Probate, Guardianship, Conservatorship, Minor Compromise (where no civil case exists) and Fact of Birth, Marriage, and Death cases is the Juvenile Justice Center located at 2100 College Ave, Bakersfield, CA 93305

No, court employees may not give advice as to which legal forms to use or how to complete the forms.

You may ask the court to waive all or some of the fees by completing the applicable fee waiver request forms, and if granted an order will be made as to the fees waived. Forms may be obtained in person in the Probate Department or you may visit the California Court Judicial Branch website

The court does not provide such a list. Postings for upcoming petitions for sales of property can be found on a bulletin board located just outside the Probate Department.

Michael Burger is the Kern County Probate Referee; you may contact his office directly at 661-588-4381.

Rachelle Kightlinger  is a Kern County Probate Referee; you may contact her office directly at 661-858-8451. 

CA Probate Referees Association website.

The following packets are available and may be requested in person in the Probate Department or by mail:
  • Affidavit re: Real Property of Small Value
  • Conservatorship Proceedings
  • Guardianship Proceedings
  • Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property ($150,000 or less)
  • Petition for Probate
  • Spousal Property Petition
  • Establishing Fact of Birth, Marriage, and Death

Where can I find statewide forms?

You may visit the California Court Judicial Branch website for additional information at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm

To find out if an action has been filed, you may:

  1. Check online
    Using the “Smart Search” locate the case number for which information is needed (see Search Tips to do this).
  2. Visit the Probate office
    2100 College Ave Bakersfield, CA 93305
  3. Request the information via mail
    Superior Court of California
    County of Kern
    Probate Department
    2100 College Ave Bakersfield, CA 93305

A written request will need to be submitted for copies, which provides the case number, date and name of the document(s) requested, your contact information, the fee, and a self-addressed stamped envelope. When requesting a copy of a will, a court order for production of the will or a certified copy of a death certificate of the decedent must also be included. Please make checks payable to Kern County Superior court.

Court call appearances may be made in accordance to California Rules of Court, rule 3.670, and arranged directly with CourtCall LLC.
CourtCall LLC may be reached by dialing 1-888-88-COURT or 1-888-882-6878 or http://courtcall.com/contact-us/
You must pre-clear your appearance by contacting Court Call at least five (5) COURT days prior to the hearing.

You will have to petition the court for guardianship in the Probate Department, basic information about probate guardianships for children is contained in the Guardianship Pamphlet form GC-205 To obtain additional information regarding guardianships you may visit the California Court Judicial Branch website for additional information at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-guardianship.htm

How does a guardianship terminate?

A guardianship ends when 1 of the following occurs:

  • The child turns 18
  • The child is adopted, marries, enters the military, or is declared an adult (emancipated) by court order
  • The child dies before turning 18; or
  • The court ends the guardianship.

You may visit the California Court Judicial Branch website for additional information at: website

You will have to petition the court for conservatorship in the Probate Department. To obtain additional information regarding conservatorship you may visit the California Court Judicial Branch website for additional information at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-conservatorship.htm

You can download the handbook from the Judicial Council's website Handbook for Conservators. The law says you must have a copy of this handbook.

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